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Factors to consider when customising cold brew packaging

Cold brew coffee has firmly established itself in the modern coffee world, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Notably, a recent report shows the global cold-brew coffee market will reach an estimated value of $994 billion by just 2025.

Is it the smooth and mellow taste of the beverage itself, or the aesthetic and convenience of cold brew packaging? Regardless, it’s imperative for brands to stay on top of evolving cold brew packaging trends to cater to consumer demand. 

To learn more about what factors brands need to consider when customising cold brew packaging, I spoke to Elmer Fajardo Pacheco and Lauren Reese from Anticonquista Café, Brian Kenny, the owner of Silverskin Coffee Roasters in Dublin, Ireland, and Joe Bailey, the creative director at Afficionado Coffee Roasters.

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The most common forms of cold brew packaging

As with the majority of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, cold brew coffee is packaged in a variety of ways. It’s important to note that each type of packaging offers its own pros and cons. Therefore, the best fit will largely depend on business operations and the outlets in which the cold brew is sold.

Typically, cold brew coffee products are packaged in one of five ways:

  • Glass bottles
  • BPA-free, recyclable plastic bottles
  • Aluminium cans
  • Flexible, spouted pouches
  • Bag-in-box

Glass bottles: An affordable option that is infinitely recyclable, making them highly sustainable. Elmer Fajardo Pacheco and Lauren Reese, the owners of Anticonquista Café in the US, use glass bottles to sell cold brew coffee at local markets across Chicago. 

“The city of Chicago has strict health and safety laws in place for vendors selling consumables at markets,” Elmer explains. “We also found selling bottled cold brew coffee was more accessible to people of all income levels.” 

“We experimented with countless options, designs and techniques, and we decided that printing on the bottles saves a lot of time and resources,” Lauren says. Additionally, she notes that customers can return bottles to receive a $1 discount on their next cold brew coffee. 

Recyclable BPA-free bottles: Plastic bottles made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are a classic form of cold brew coffee packaging. As PET is 100% recyclable, it offers consumers a convenient form of eco-friendly packaging that is easy to dispose of. Specifically designed for on-the-go consumers, the food-safe material makes PET bottles an exemplary alternative to glass.

Aluminium cans: These can be an effective way to improve a business’s sustainability standards as aluminium is also infinitely recyclable. Cans for cold brew coffee are popular because they are convenient, sustainable, and aesthetic.

Silverskin Coffee Roasters will launch its True Cold brew at the Dublin Coffee Festival. The brand’s cold brew coffee packaging perfectly aligns with its coffee packaging. In 2023, Silverskin Coffee Roasters were finalists for the MTPak Coffee Circular Economy Grant. The brand was praised for its innovative recyclable paper coffee tubes that feature a fresh seal.

“The coffee cylinders are a labour of love,” owner Brian explains. “They’re 3 to 4 times the cost of coffee bags, but we wanted to do something completely different to our competitors,” Brian says. Silverskin’s cold brew cans will be no different. The look was created by local Irish designer, Dave Rogers and features a striking white can for the True brew and the Oat. The custom black cold brew coffee can showcases white flashes for the nitro. There is a cardboard sleeve for the multipacks and all the packaging is fully recyclable. 

Slightly less common forms of cold brew packaging

Flexible, spouted pouches: One of the more unusual forms of packaging used for cold brew coffee are flexible pouches that have a small spout on the top. This form of packaging may be more common for cold brew coffee concentrate, as they conveniently fit into consumers’ bags. 

Bag-in-box: This innovative cold brew packaging option can dispense almost every drop of cold brew because of its ergonomic on-tap dispensing system. Perfect for the home, office, or any social occasion, our cold brew coffee boxes have a minimal environmental impact and certainly stand out from other packaging choices.

Joe Bailey is the creative director at Afficionado Coffee Roasters and the team at Origin Coffee, a UK-based coffee roastery. He has seen the many benefits of bag-in-a-box packaging first-hand. 

“Bag-in-box coffee has really blown up in recent years for its efficiency in shipping products and its large consumer appeal,” he says. “There’s something tactile and aesthetic about a well-designed corrugated box that people find more appealing and environmentally friendly than the plastic cartons of the past.” 

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Additional factors to consider

Obtaining certifications and investing in sustainable packaging solutions can help cold brew coffee brands differentiate themselves in a highly competitive coffee market. Beyond this, certified cold brew packaging builds trust with consumers, and can drive positive change within the industry. 

As expectations for sustainable packaging rise alongside demand for cold brew coffee, certified packaging represents not only an opportunity for enhanced loyalty but also a moral imperative for brands seeking to thrive in an increasingly conscious market. 

Certifications can have several benefits, such as reassuring customers that products are produced sustainably, which boosts brand trust. Certified products can also justify higher pricing because of the commitment to eco-friendly, fair production and help distinguish a brand as a leader in supporting coffee communities and environmental stewardship.

At Cold Brew Pak, our cold brew packaging solutions are certified as compostable, sustainably sourced, and recyclable. Our biodegradable or compostable packaging products are in compliance with the European certification standard (EN 13432). Our certification is issued by Din Certco.

Cold Brew Pak was founded on the belief that we should be able to enjoy our favourite things without damaging the environment. We are fully committed to promoting a circular economy model and furthering its uptake across the coffee industry. This means rejecting a take-make-waste approach in favour of one that keeps products in use for as long as possible.

Images courtesy of Anticonquista Café and Afficionado Coffee Roasters

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About the author

Victoria is a highly experienced content creator, writer, and editor based out of South Africa. With the experience gained by working in newsrooms and writing for lifestyle magazines, she is now focussed on creating insightful and relatable content for the specialty coffee community.